Market Corrects Itself

Market Corrects Itself

Average Price of Homes Drop

Loudoun County’s real estate market had its ups and downs this year.

In the summer, the county’s real estate market slowed down, but Jill Landsman, from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, said it picked up in the spring.

Now, on average, a home in Loudoun sells for approximately $502,000. When compared to last year’s numbers, the same home sold for 6.4 percent less than it did in 2005.

"The average price of a sold home has gone down," Landsman said.

Landsman reminded homeowners not to worry about the recent drop in home prices because they have been "on the ups" for so long.

"It’s a baby step in a market correction," she said.

On average, a home in Loudoun County sold for $306,000 in 2002. In 2003, the average price of a home rose to $354,000, a 15.61 percent increase over the previous year.

In 2004, the average price of a home jumped to $441,000, a 25 percent increase over 2003.

"That’s better than any stock," Landsman said.

FOR OVER FIVE years, the county’s real estate market continued to prosper. Now, we are seeing the price of homes sold taper off. But homeowners should look at the big picture, Landsman said.

"For so many years, the market was going up, up, up," she said. "Now, it’s taking a step back."

Residents who purchased their homes 10 years ago will still do well. It’s the buyers who purchased their homes within the past two years that might loose money.

Right now, a county home stays on the market for an average of 147 days. In 2005, that number was 47.

With that said, Landsman said the county, and the region, have many attractive qualities that factor in to the prices of homes.

"As long as the interest rate remains stable and the local issues are favorable," she said, "2007 should be a good year."

THIS IS also expected to be a stabilizing year in residential home assessments, with County Administrator Kirby Bowers predicting an overall decrease of 3 percent.

"Since 2000 the trend has been upward," Todd Kaufman, the county's assessor, said. "We have seen dramatic increases. In 2006-07, values have stabilized."

Kaufman warns that even with an anticipated 3 percent decrease in assessments, that not every homeowner will see a drop.

"That is looking at the entire portfolio," he said. "Assessments are unique and depend on type of property and location. The expectations cannot be that every single home went down 3 percent."

Kaufman said that townhomes and condominiums saw the largest impact in assessment increases and, now, decreases, while single-family homes were slightly more stable.

The assessor's office is continuing to look at property throughout the county, trying to get assessments as close to 100 percent of fair market value as possible.

"That is the goal," Kaufman said. "In the past, assessments have been very low."